Pandev returns south for an exciting new chapter with Napoli

The news of Goran Pandev joining Napoli on Friday in a loan move from Inter was greeted warmly by all parties involved. The Macedonian was the latest impressive addition to the Vesuviani squad this summer as President Aurelio de Laurentiis has spent money to improve the team which threatened to take the Serie A crown until the closing weeks of last season.
Somewhat of a forgotten man at Inter last season, Pandev’s addition to the forward department arguably puts Napoli in the top bracket of European clubs in terms of attacking talent. He heads south to the warmer climes of Naples probably feeling slightly black and blue after his 18 month stint in Milan, where, despite starting well in an Inter shirt and winning a historic treble with the Nerazzurri in his first season under Jose Mourinho, the Macedonian had an underwhelming second campaign where he fell out of favour – suffering from niggling injuries and a loss of form.
Pandev’s form at Inter was generally a long way short of what he displayed on a regular basis for Lazio. However, it was hardly surprising given his first six months with the club followed a period of being frozen out in Rome over a contract dispute. Pandev then had to adapt to a formation under Mourinho which required him to track back a lot more often than at Lazio while there was a lack of stability at Inter all last season.
Walter Mazzarri will be hoping Pandev settles better in Naples and scores goals closer to the one in three record he generated for the Aquile in five years where he bagged 61 goals in 180 appearances in all competitions. The Macedonian’s goalscoring record at international level is even more impressive, scoring 24 goals in 60 appearances for the former Yugoslavian minnows – interestingly a better ratio than that of Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Torres, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney for their respective nations.
His signing adds strength to an already strong attacking quartet of Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Marek Hamsik and Giuseppe Mascara, and will ease the strain should one of the above pick up an injury.
The Vesuviani were also found wanting at times last year with a lack of a “Plan B”, particularly in the big games towards the end of the campaign against Milan in Serie A and Villarreal in Europe. Pandev’s versatility and ability at assisting others, combined with his Champions League experience and willingness to help defend, is perhaps partly why Napoli opted to sign him, particularly with the Partenopei’s Champions League draw.
On announcing the deal, De Laurentiis told the club’s website: “I called Moratti and asked him for Pandev on loan and reached an agreement with Inter in a second. Pandev has the abilities to play with Hamsik, Lavezzi and Cavani. He knows that in Naples he can put the past behind and have an important role.”
Pandev was equally pleased at the move declaring: “I’m very happy about my adventure in the blue shirt that started in an extraordinary way. To hear sixty thousand people at San Paolo chant my name made me feel great. I thank Napoli for giving me this great opportunity.”
Whether Goran will achieve greatness at Napoli remains to be seen, but what is certain is the start of an exciting new chapter for both club and player.

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